California lifts Fresno County citrus quarantine

08/03/2006 12:00:00 AM
Don Schrack

(Aug. 3) The U.S. Department of Agriculture was notifying all export trading partners, including China, in early August that California’s Department of Food and Agriculture had lifted an agricultural quarantine on citrus from Fresno County.

The quarantine, which on June 12 prompted the Chinese government to ban citrus from the county, was lifted on more than 100 square miles of Fresno and Madera counties on July 28 — nearly a month earlier than originally scheduled.

Six peach fruit flies were discovered in traps in May. Fresno County Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Carol Hafner said the pest is not indigenous to California but is common in Asia and the Middle East. An international shipment or traveler likely brought the fly to California, she said.

The quarantine was scheduled to continue through August — enough time for three life cycles of the fruit fly, Hafner said. However, the heat waves of June and July accelerated the life cycles, she said.

The quarantine had minimal effect on fruit supplies. But it was expensive for a handful of growers.

About 10% of the affected area was commercial farms. Hardest hit was Jura’s Fig Garden Packing, Fresno.

Mike Jura Jr., president of Jura’s, said the cost of pesticides and additional labor on the company’s 100 acres of black mission figs and the cost of being forced to send the first harvest to the dryer totaled $100,000.



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